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Lectures >2002 Speeches > 28/06/2002

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Ayatullah Al Ozma H.E. M. H. Fadlullah delivered two speeches (at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Rabi’ Al Thani 17, 1423Hij -  June28, 2002 (Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer).

 

We need to Deepen the Spirit of Giving


The First Sermon

In the Name of God, The Compassionate the Merciful

Allah says in His Glorious book:{And let not those who covetously withhold of the gifts which Allah has given them of His Grace, think that it is good for them: Nay, it will be the worse for them: Soon it will be tied to their necks like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgment. To Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do} [3:180]. He also says :{ For Allah loves not any vainglorious boaster. Such persons as are penurious and commend covetousness to men. And if any turn back (from Allah’s way) verily Allah is free of all needs, worthy of all praise} [57:23-24]. In a third Ayat Allah says :{ Make not your hand tied (like a niggard’s) to your need} [17:29].

 The spirit of giving

Thus, there are many Ayats that talk about penurious people. Those persons are not only penurious in what Allah has given them, they also commend penuriousness. They object on those who give and discourage them not to be generous.

Such an attitude contradicts with both the spirit of the religion and the direct commands of the Quran. Allah wants man to enjoy the spirit of giving others so as to learn two facts. The first is that everything you have was given to you by Allah. He is the One Who has given you your existence and your money.

Because if your money was a result of your effort, it is Allah (s.w.t.) that has given you the mind and the rest of the parts you which you use to work and think.

That why He tells us to spend from what “He has made you heirs” 57:7. This means that the money you possess is Allah’s money which you are entrusted with to spend in a way that pleasures its owners, and not in any way you might think fit.

In the light of this, Allah wants us to spend in the way He ordained {And in their wealth there is a due share for the beggar and the deprived} [51:9]. He also talked about Alms-giving as a religious duty.

But also He urged us to give in charity out of our own free will in addition to what was ordained as a duty.

Such giving in charity is done with the intention of getting nearer to Allah Who rewards the good-doers. In this respect, even loans are considered acts of charity since they help relief a person in urgent need for money for reasons that might sometimes be a matter of life and death.

Penuriousness is not to feel the needs of others  

Allah wants us to rise to the level of altruism like the Ansar who received Muhammad (p) and those who migrated with him from Mecca {And those who before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the faith. Show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the (latter), but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their (own lot). And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls; they are the ones that achieve prosperity}[59:9] and we also saw how Allah (s.w.t) honored the members of the House for their giving others preference over themselves:{And they feed, for he love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive * (Saying), “We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: No reward do we desire from you, nor thanks”}[76:8-9].

Allah wants man to live the spirit of giving for two reasons – first, because it solves the problems of those in needs and second, because it represents an elevation in the spiritual value of man. And we have seen in the Ayats we recited that Allah (s.w.t) has described the negative consequences of those who are penurious … For Allah will hold them accountable for their acts on the Day of Judgment.

The money they have been so stingy keeping to themselves will turn into chains that will tie their necks… Allah also talked about those who are proud of how much money they accumulated…Those whose only concern is to gain more money without giving others… Those who ask others to do the same so as they will not look peculiar or wrong.

Covetousness, also drives man to be penny-pinching in w penurious hat Allah has ordained, for He has ordained that we ought to give a certain portion of our money to the poor and the needy and those who cannot pay their dues…etc in addition to the alms, the fifth and the like. The Messenger (p.) said: “The greediest among you are those who are stingy in what Allah has ordained”.

If Allah has ordained that you ought to give something then it is not yours to spare, and that is why you are the most penurious.

Imam Ali (a.s.) describes the penurious as such: “How odd is he who runs after the poverty that he had run away from, and misses the wealth that he had sought for… He would live in this world as a poor man and would be tried in the Hereafter as a rich man”. The Imam also says that such people deprive themselves from everything and leave it all to their heirs to enjoy. The Messenger (p.) says: “A penurious person is far from Allah and the people and he is near hellfire”. Imam Zien Al-Abidien (a.s) says: I feel ashamed to meet my God if I meet a brother whom I would call Allah to let him enter Heaven, but I would not give him any money. There are those among us who are ready to pray for you, but when it comes to giving money they will shi away. They are so penurious that Allah describes them in the Quran as such :{ Say: “If ye had control of the Treasures of the Mercy of my Lord, behold, ye would keep them back, for fear of spending them: For man is (ever) niggardly!}[17:100].

Another kind of penuriousness is that has to do with experience and knowledge. There are those who won’t tell you something because they suppose it has to do with their trade and they should be paid for such information. There are also those who are penurious with their religious knowledge to the extent that they would not preach or teach, although that the Traditions explain that it a religious duty to do so, especially when people are influenced by false beliefs. Then there are those who are capable as result of their social position, to help you with your errands but they wouldn’t.

Such a social position was also given to them by God and they have the duty to use it for the good of others, just as they have a duty to give others some of their money.

And there are those who are mean in greeting others. Those are described by the Messenger (p.)  as the most covetous.

Those people might think that the others should greet them first. This is wrong because greeting others regardless of their social status represents a very high level of morality. When the American president, Abraham Lincoln, was asked why do you greet the freed black savers first? He answered: if they greet me first they would be better than me.

And finally Prophet Muhammad (p) said: The real covetous person is the one who does not say prayers for me when I am mentioned.

Let us say prayers for Muhammad (p) and his progeny (a.s).

The Second Sermon

In the Name of God, The Compassionate the Merciful

America violates human rights.

The American President has welcomed the Israeli invasion of the West Bank. He also welcomed the killing of civilians, especially children, and the arrest and assassination of members of the Palestinian Authority security forces whom he asks to fight "terrorism". He talks about peace in a way that repeats the Israeli conditions, and threatens the Palestinian people with economic sanctions, if they do not accept his terms. He is also trying to turn the whole world including the Arab countries against them.

Thus, the American president is acting like one of the parties in the conflict. He is trying to portray the struggle against Israeli occupation as “terrorism”. And consequently, he is entering the war as an ally to Israel in the name of fighting terrorism. His speech lays impossible conditions to resume the negotiations. Moreover, when he was asked about who decides if the reforms that are demanded from the Palestinians are appropriate, he said: “The free world”, But who is this free world that stands with America, against all the Palestinian people and stands with the occupier who commits all these massacres against the Palestinians who have no other way to confront him but to blow up themselves.

Facing the American threat

We could have never imagined that America would reach such a level of ugliness, brutality, violation of human rights, and acting with such arrogance against a people that have suffered from the oppression of arrogant colonialism for about 75 years, a people that continues to be subjected to all kinds of killing, destruction and humiliation from the arrogant offensive that reject occupation everywhere, except in Palestine... For Israel is protected by the US, the country that declares war on any other country it accuses of making mass destruction weapons, but when it comes to Israel, America encourages it to possess nuclear weapons.

Due to the pains and suffering of the Palestinians on political economic, military, and humanitarian levels, we call on them to establish a united national front to the face US-Israeli challenge.

 At the same time, the Palestinians should fight all forms of corruption… and not because the Americans and Israelis have called for reform, for this call is booby trapped to create better conditions that serve their interests. This is what we heard from the enemy’s foreign minister when he said. “Had the Palestinian Authority fought terrorism nobody would have demanded democracy of her”.

We say to all the Muslim and Arab peoples, as well as all forces of liberation in the world, that they ought to be aware of the American threat to its political economic and security interests.

They should stand up and face this threat that eliminates the human rights of the entire world’s nations to serve the American and Israeli interests. We also feel that it is necessary to reassert that we are not against the American people but against the American administration that has fallen under Sharon’s control.

We say to the Arab and Muslim states that the American president has made humiliating threats to several Arab leaders, for he found hat they are ready to accept his commands and seek to earn his satisfaction. We say to those leaders that if they wish to stay in this vicious circle of weakness and impotence they should step down, and give their peoples the opportunity to elect new leaders who respect their responsibilities and commitments.

You are in your post to serve the people and defend and promote their interests, and not your own ones. And we have felt ashamed and frustrated as a result of the responses of some of you on Bush’s speech, a response that does not honor any leader who respects himself and his people.

Lebanon: Do not react emotionally

 In Lebanon, the country is still preoccupied with internal issues that are being raised in an emotional and even sectarian way; with every party trying it exploit them to serve its own interests. This has created a state in which the citizen is totally immersed in these problems that he is distracted from the great regional challenges of the Israeli-American war against the forces of Liberation, especially Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

One of these issues is that of the Ozai’i neighborhood in the Southern Suburb of Beirut which we wish that it would have been dealt with in an objective and rational manner that takes the interests of the citizens in consideration. The government planning of development ought to have been balanced and to have taken the priorities into consideration, especially if some of the development projects threaten the interests of the citizens in a large neighborhood. It endangers their economic well being at a time the whole country is living in a catastrophic condition. The Government should have developed the rural regions the Lebanese have migrated from (Biqa’, Akkar and the South (regions in Lebanon)) to live in the poor suburbs of Beirut –Such projects would have encouraged them to return to their original regions.

We call to going back to objective dialogue between the government and the citizens. We warn against any harming of the Resistance that still protects the country against the enemy so as not to give a room for negative interpretations of the motives, especially that it coincides with Bush’s speech and the Israeli aggression campaign… Moreover, all parties should be sober and balanced in what they say, since any spark in this climate of tempests might burn the whole country.

Finally, we ask the government to find a just solution to the taxis that use diesel engines, one that would preserve their rights and reduce pollution at the same time… The government is mandated by the people to serve them… It is by no means a totalitarian force that does not care about the people’s sufferings, and that does not think except of promoting the interests of the rulers.